Our father died leaving a parcel of land that he inherited from our grandparents. He was survived by our mother and their three children. My parents were married in 1989. How are we going to partition the property? Our father did not execute a last will.
Since there was no mention in your letter that your parents had a pre-nuptial agreement, we will assume that there was none. Likewise, since they were married when the Family Code of the Philippines is already in effect, their property relation was under the regime of absolute community of property.
The property you mentioned in your letter was inherited by your father from his parents. If he acquired this prior to his marriage to your mother then the same is part of their absolute community property. Therefore, when your father died, the absolute community property was dissolved. The said property was divided into two, half of which belongs to your mother and the other half to your father. Since he is already dead, then his share shall be partitioned among his heirs.
On the other hand, if your father inherited the property as mentioned above after the celebration of his marriage with your mother, then it is his exclusive property. As such, the whole property shall be divided among his heirs.
The partition of your father’s estate shall be in accordance with the law on succession considering that he left no last will and testament. Since your father and your mother were married, we will assume that their three children are legitimate. According to the law, if the decedent was survived by his/her legitimate children and his/her legal spouse, his/her estate shall be divided among them equally. This is particularly provided by Article 997 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, which states:
“Art. 996. If a widow or widower and legitimate children or descendants are left, the surviving spouse has in the succession the same share as that of each of the children.”
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com